For men hoping to become fathers, a new study suggests adding walnuts to your diet. According to research published Wednesday, eating a large handful of walnuts every day could boost the quality of your sperm.
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in California enrolled 117 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 35 into the study, taking sperm samples both at the beginning and end of the study. Half of the men were assigned to eat 2.5 ounces (a little more than half a cup) of walnuts a day, along with their usual diet. At the end of the 12-week study, the walnut eaters showed improved sperm quality, while there was no change in the control group. Plus men in the walnut-eating group whose sperm were the worst swimmers at the beginning of the study saw the biggest improvement in their sperm quality at the end of the experiment.
The study, funded partially by the California Walnut Commission, was published online in the journal Biology of Reproduction.
This study is part of a growing body of evidence that men's dietary and lifestyle choices can affect fertility. According to researcher Dr. Wendie Robbins, walnuts are the only nuts with appreciable levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to better sperm quality in prior research.
Additional studies have shown that fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fats have boosted fertility in men with poor sperm counts.